Marketing News

Content Marketing - Customer value or questionable journalism? by Isabelle Ringnes

Content marketing is becoming an increasingly discussed topic, especially in Norwegian media. Certain people within the industry are worried that it questions the ethics of journalism and blurs the line between what is advertisement and what is editorial content. However, this is called native advertising. Native advertising is advertising that is created by the brand in an editorial format, and then integrated into a website or newspaper. If you aren't used to this or aware of the *sponsored titles, readers may feel confused as to whether the content is based on facts or merely a sales pitch from the brand behind it. If readers eventually do find out, they may feel deceived, retain a bad impression of the brand and question the moral of the news outlet. However- content marketing is something different. Content marketing is about giving your customers information and tools that provide real value. It is high quality content, often produced by a content marketing company or journalists, and then shared with the brands customers on social media, websites and email newsletters. Content marketing is stepping away from the intrusive and ongoing sales pitch and rather focusing on how you can empower your customer, give them information and thus build a loyalty bond with them. The content does not necessarily reflect your brand or product, but the fact that your customers get information that they find valuable from your brand creates a positive perception; and hopefully increased sales as an indirect result. 

Let`s take your average bank as an example. Instead of participating in the war of attention and advertising online, they may choose to build a reputation as a bank that profoundly cares about their customers financials. By providing them with relevant, non-biased, high-quality content based on real facts they can help clients make better decisions. Content that doesn't tell clients what to buy and why to buy it from them, but empowers their clients to make informed and sustainable choices in their daily lives. 

I appreciate content marketing. Not only as a consumer, but as marketer myself. It is much more challenging to take the time to investigate, research and create content that your target audience will find interesting or entertaining. At New York International, we did a lot of content marketing. I spent my time coming up with article ideas that could prove useful to international startups coming to establish their business in New York. I would cover anything from "best NYC apps" to "sharing economy trends" and "Interviews with international entrepreneurs that have made it in New York". The content we pushed was written with the intention to show prospective clients that we know the city, we ca provide relevant resources and are genuinely committed to help. However, we would very seldomly mention our own company. Our company would function as the distributor, and that was sufficient to get the idea across. We do not want to make our customers feel like tangibles, but rather someone we trust will have the ability to make personal, smart decisions when provided accurate and factual information. 

I truly hope that we see more content marketing. Not only does it provide more opportunities for the increasingly competitive role of journalists, but it may also be a way for news organizations to develop a new form of monetization.

By leasing existing editorial content to brands or freelancing journalists to create fresh content on relevant issues, this marketing trend has the potential to benefit the customer, brand and media industry as a whole. 

What do you think of content marketing? Is it a positive or negative trend? Please don't hesitate to let me know in the comments section. 

AirBnb is one of the many innovative brands that have conquered the world of content marketing. Instead of advertising their product, they provide prospective customers with travel guides about destinations they may feel enticed to visit: and thus book an apartment through them when choosing to visit the destination. Not only does this challenge the team at AirBnb to develop more knowledge on the various city's they operate in, but it also is a non-intrusive and helpful way to attract customers to their website. 

AirBnb is one of the many innovative brands that have conquered the world of content marketing. Instead of advertising their product, they provide prospective customers with travel guides about destinations they may feel enticed to visit: and thus book an apartment through them when choosing to visit the destination. Not only does this challenge the team at AirBnb to develop more knowledge on the various city's they operate in, but it also is a non-intrusive and helpful way to attract customers to their website. 

Social Media Cred can give you a cheap luxury hotel room by Isabelle Ringnes

A new start-up called Hotelie will offer the right consumers discounts on luxury hotels based on the amount of social media cred they have. 

“A Hotelie to me is someone who’s in the know, gets access to discounts and rates that no one else knows, so, ‘you’ve been hotelied’ is you’ve been admitted into this group in the know,” explains Zeev Sharon, CEO and Founder of Hotelied to Fast Company. 

The more information you add to your profile the more discounts become available to you.

Hotelie's tagline “It Pays to Be You” capitalizes on the concept of “social media currency” and allows users to get something tangible back for the amount of data they give up. The service is essentially shifting the power structure from companies that wish to use your data for their benefit into benefiting you instead. 

The luxery hotel start-up is in it's initial phase and has currently partnered with 14 hotels in the US, mostly in NYC but is expected to grow quickly. 

Shop Amazon on Twitter by Isabelle Ringnes

Yesterday Amazon launched a new feature that allows consumers to add products to their Amazon shopping carts directly from their Twitter feeds. To use the service, shoppers must link their Twitter accounts to an Amazon account. When brands include an Amazon product link in their Twitter posts, all you need to do is reply to the tweet and include the hashtag #amazoncart. 

Notice that you will not automatically purchase the product, but it will be added to your Amazon shopping cart so that you can purchase it at a later point. This is great for marketers who aim to increase their sales conversion time. 

Similar efforts have been done by brands before. Starbucks allows you to tweet a coffee to your friends. Some doubt to whether or not the service will be successful is raised due to the fact that everyone will be able to see what products you are purchasing. Many people prefer to keep this information private. 

The psychology behind successful social media posts by Isabelle Ringnes

I refer to Buffer a lot, but they do have amazing content. So not surprisingly they recently posted about the science of social media influence and how to make posts more persuasive based on the psychology of human minds. 

Buffer's post is inspired by Dave Straker's website Changing Minds , a site that has a variety of psychology terms neatly organized in specific categories for easy reference. 

As a social media marketer (or marketer in general) you are familiar with the process of trying to find the magic content that engages your readers enough to make them want to share and increase your earned media percentage. I decided to include some of the most important ones here: 

Amplification Hypothesis: 

When you express something with certainty, your attitude hardens. The opposite holds true too- if you express an attitude with uncertainty it softens the attitude. 

Conversion Theory: 

The minority in a group can have a disproportionate effect on influencing those in the majority. Typically, those in the majority who are most susceptible are the ones who may have joined because it was easy to do so or felt they lacked alternatives. Consistent, confident minority voices are most effective. 

Reciprocity norm: 

The feeling we get after other have done something for us. We feel obligated to return the favor. 

Scarcity principle:

People often want what is in short supply. The desire increases if there is a time limit present as well. 

Social influence:

People are strongly influenced by others based on how we perceive our relationship to the influencer. We tend to be influenced by recommendations from authoritative sources, big brands and peers.

Ultimate terms:

Some terms are more persuasive than others. See this post to see what words work. I can reveal that the five most persuasive words include: You, Because, Free, Instantly and New. 

Read the rest of the article on the psychology behind great social media posts here

Making print come alive by Isabelle Ringnes

I stumbled over a technology from Amsterdam called Layar today, launched in 2009. Essentially it allows anyone to scan a picture, object or printed page and see it come alive on their phones. This technology is great for magazines wanting to expand their advertising opportunities.

It is also great for retailers who can display posters of products, have consumers scan them and order them directly to their homes. Watch this demo to get a better feel of the product. 

For a recent project in our graduate program we used this technology to show our presentation. You can view a video of how we did that here:

Virtual fitting rooms? by Isabelle Ringnes

Retail brands are embracing technological developments as they continue to advance with their digital strategies. Now a company called Facecake has launched Swivel, a technology that enables online retailers to upload their entire apparel and accessory lines into a virtual wardrobe in which shoppers can try on clothes in real-time using their webcam (see a demonstration in the YouTube clip below). Make-up brands will likely also be adopting this technology as shoppers can use their webcam to apply makeup in different colors and shades. 

In addition, shoppers can change the backgrounds, snap photos and share them on their social networks. Users can then create polls so friends can vote on which outfit suits them best. 

This opens a vast array of new possibilities for brands to increase their profit and limit the returns from online sales. The technology is new and won't work perfectly yet, but it sure is a huge step towards the future of retail. 

Small Business Social Survival by Isabelle Ringnes

Buffer has amazing tips and tricks for social media marketers. This post is especially useful as it provides an overview of 61 various tools that small business can utilize for managing their digital marketing efforts. 

To save myself from copying the entire post I can reveal that it includes the following categories: 

I highly recommend this article to find the tools that work best for you or simply google the names below to be directed to their platforms. 

In addition to these tools, I also like this page that gives you the code you need to embed a Twitter button into your blog or website. 

For managing Facebook buttons, Facebook's developer site gives you all you need for embedding these buttons directly into your website/blog. 

Social Media and TV? by Isabelle Ringnes

Nearly 20% of americans aged 15-54 report using social media while watching primetime TV on a daily basis according to new data from the Council for Research excellence. 7,3% of the social media interactions are related specifically to the programming. 

The most popular social media interactions were new TV shows and sports programming. Most of the interactions happened on Facebook accounting for 11.4%, while Twitter garnered 3,3% of the interactions. 

Read more here.

Can red make you rich? by Isabelle Ringnes

Can the color you choose on your website or app determine it's success? According to research, a full 90% of an assessment for trying out a product is made by color alone. 

Color can actually be a major determinant of your marketing success. According to KISSmetrics, knowing which color appeals to your target audience may up your chance of succeeding. 

Broken down this means that if you are trying to target women, you may be wise to choose blue, purple and green, and steer away from orange, brown and gray. If men are your target audience, blue, green and black are popular choices. Men do not enjoy the color brown, orange and purple. 

A great infographic by KISSmetrics

A great infographic by KISSmetrics

HubSpot conducted a study to determine if the choice of color could change the conversions rate for a new product. The findings were surprising. By changing the "Get Started Now!" button in their ad from green to red, 21% more people choose to click on the button even though all the other designs remained identical. 


This blog post is inspired by the amazing Fast Company. 

Advertising on mobile by Isabelle Ringnes

Even though the expectations are high, advertisers have not been able to successfully leverage the new world of mobile ads.

Most marketers report not seeing the great performance of these ads and have difficulty justifying their budgets. They are resisting the tendency to create processes that require fewer tasks. 

According to a report published on Media Post, 58% of american adults that use smartphones access the Internet several times daily, followed by 21% daily, 12% weekly and only 3% never report never accessing the Internet from their smartphones. 

An example of what an ad should look like. 

An example of what an ad should look like. 

There are currently over 2 billion smartphones worldwide that serve 31.3% of the world's population. The opportunity for marketers to reach these consumers is real, but had not been exploited fully through personalization and hyper-targeting. 

The data is available through the consumers interactions with the phone's camera, the GPS system and the searches. 57% of adult smartphone users view the ads that typically appear in apps are interrupting the user experience rather than being complimentary to what they are doing. Only 20% say the ads are relevant to them. 

Leas analyst Jennifer Wise explains in the Forrester Research World Smartphone Adoption Forecast, 2012-2017, Global that the majority of mobile ads still resemble mini-desktop ads. Analysts believe focusing on the mobile user experience and integrating with individual publishers will reduce customer frustration. By targeting individuals and not segments the ads will appear more relevant. 

What gets measured, gets managed. by Isabelle Ringnes

Addictomatic: Search for any key word and create a custom page that pulls together data about that keyword available from a wide variety of websites. 

Bloglines: Bloglines makes is easy to find and track your favorite websites and blogs in real-time. You can customize your dashboard with multiple view options, drag and drop organization, and exclusive widgets. 

Social Mention: Search for any keyword and get the latest updates in real time. It also measures the passion, sentiment, reach, top users, strength and top keywords of whatever your search quest is. 

Technocrati: High quality search site for sifting through blogs. Is not up to date, but the quality of the results is generally very high.

Hootsuite: A social media management dashboard. Allows you to monitor and manage all your social media platforms in one interface. There is also an option to " go pro" in which you can get reports and summaries of your social networking efforts. Perfect for marketers. Social media monitoring. Easy interface, simple navigation and fast response. 

Here is a list of other social media monitoring tools.